Now Or Never For Reiss Nelson? BY Dan Smith
I wrote the same regarding Joe Willock a week ago. This time I claim it could be a defining moment in his Arsenal career for Reiss Nelson.
Willock has been playing well in the Europa League which earnt him a first Premiership start of the season at Elland Road. He did what he tends to do when given an opportunity in a match that is not a cup tie, he went through the motions, letting the game pass him by.
This Thursday it was Nelson’s turn to impress in Europe.
That combined with Pepe’s domestic suspension and Saka’s and Willian’s injuries has led some gooners to suggest Nelson should start on Sunday.
Even if Willian is fit, based on form, his place in the first team is under threat.
Arteta’s only other option is a back 5 where the wing backs provide the width.
The issue with our latest of group of British academy graduates isn’t their ability. To make it this far from the youth set up means you have proven you have talent. The question mark is do they have the mentality to succeed at this level? Can they cope with the pressure of being expected to win every week? You only find that out by giving them opportunities.
After a couple of years though I feel that a Nelson still plays likes he’s grateful to be playing for the Gunners, more than believing he belongs.
If you compare him to a Saka, does Nelson demand the ball? Does he try something without fearing a mistake? Or does he play it safe?
If he started against Wolves, would he believes he’s the man to be the difference?
That attitude is what separates you from playing at a top 4 side (where we are striving to be) compared to a midtable club (which I guess we are?).
Nelson hasn’t had as many starts as the likes of Maitland-Niles in the League, but he’s still had 21 appearances. If you are honest how many of those can you say Nelson was great in?
Look at the first 21 Prem outings of the then teenagers Jack Wilshire and Aaron Ramsey, and you could see they looked comfortable in their surroundings.
As much as we all want ‘one of our own’ to succeed we have to be ruthless if we ever want to be what we once were.
It’s a marketing dream to have British kids promoted from the academy. Why do you think they are the face of the club’s merchandise department? It’s because gooners can identify themselves more with a player who has grown up with the club.
It means fans tend to have more patience compared to if they were a signing from abroad.
Our manager has always said anyone not meeting our standards it won’t be tolerated. The fact is Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock make up one of our least creative midfields in years.
Dropping Ozil means there is a spotlight on them to contribute goals and assists.
Willock didn’t take his opportunity last weekend, now it could be Nelson’s turn.
If he does start, I want to see personality. The 20-year-old demanding the ball, being brave, taking risks, etc.
You don’t know how many more chances he will get…
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